Month: October 2010

  • The £ value of equity

    In reality, social policies come about through a mixture of pragmatics, principle, public opinion, politicking, and sheer accident. But in the ideal world of welfare economics,1 we could rationally decide whether to implement a policy by looking at its impact on human welfare. If the benefits of a policy outweigh its costs, then that policy […]

  • Why we need to know each other’s pay: an experiment

    Would you be happier if you found out that you earned more than other people at your workplace – particularly the people who do the same job as you? For obvious reasons, questions about relative pay have been around a long time – and getting a definite answer to them has proved difficult.  We can […]

  • Attacking the poor in the UK

    In a guest post, Daniel Sage asks how the UK Coalition have found it so easy to cut benefits for the poor. When the UK Chancellor brands benefit cheats as “muggers” and Arts Minister Jeremy Hunt asserts that the State should not support large, poor families, it is clear that the Coalition Government feels strongly […]

  • When There’s No More Fat to Trim: State Budgets and Public Opinion

    When voters go to the polls on November 2nd, they won’t just be voting for national offices. Across the country there are many tightly contested state elections. While these races do not garner as much attention, they are arguably more important for inequality. This is because education, and most of the means-tested programs that serve […]

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  • High-Stakes Admissions Testing—Alleviating or Reproducing Inequality?

    Kendra Bischoff argues that high-stakes tests can play an important role in evaluating student performance, but they can also unintentionally promote educational inequality. The U.S. education system is currently in a state of flux as the Obama administration pushes reform, the documentary “Waiting for Superman” spreads the story of school choice, and leaders of the nation’s […]

  • How to Study Culture without Blaming the Victim

    American liberals don’t like talking about the “culture of poverty.” The very term evokes some of the most distorted and racist images of the ghetto and its stock characters — the deadbeat dad, the welfare queen, and the criminal youth. But as a recent issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and […]

  • The Mismeasurement of Unemployment: Why it Matters

    The official unemployment rate is a bad measure of the labor market in a down economy — we should think about using existing alternatives and devising some new ones. The monthly unemployment reports from the United States Department of Labor tell us that the official unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at around 9.6%. While analysts […]

  • Where is There Scope for Bipartisan Social Policy Reform in the U.S.?

    With U.S. mid-term elections coming up, and most reliable forecasts showing that Democrats will likely lose the majority in the House and several seats in the Senate, there’s a big unanswered question about whether there is scope to advance a progressive social policy agenda in a bipartisan environment. The experience with health reform was not […]

  • New Labour’s record on ‘class’

    (1) A problem we often face as researchers is to cope with an overwhelming amount of information on different measures of different types of inequality.  As I posted earlier in the week, we need high-quality statistics – but we also need to try and turn this into a coherent narrative, which is often much harder. […]